Saturday, 25 February 2017

Fabulous jobs

These people have the best job titles EVER.... who wouldn't want to be a Contaminant Fate Scientist or a Biogeochemist.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Thank you John Gray

Ok I admit it - I've nicked this link from John Gray over at Going Gently.
If you haven't visited John please do - he writes wonderfully.
This song is a beautiful rerendering of an old favourite.
Light the fire, switch off your lights, pour your favourite drink and just listen.
It sounds like the calm before the storm.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

At Home

...the Nu and I admired the kale,

offered prayers of thanks to the God of Brassicas for this baby Romanescu,

and started crocheting a pair of socks in this lovely yarn.
Nothing too exciting but gently satisfying.

Bank Hall

A cold wet February Sunday.
Mournful, damp and unprepossessing, until we see this......'s snowdrop season at Bank Hall
 An old ruined Jacobean Hall that the Friends Group is trying to restore.
One of the ways they do this to have open days to go Snowdrop Viewing.

Drifts and drifts of lovely, elegant and delicate blooms.

It felt like walking through a cathedral.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Returning Home

Hi! Anybody still there.  Sorry I've been away so long. 
I didn't mean to be but it's been almost a year since I last wrote anything. 
 A lot has happened in that year. 
I took voluntary redundancy; I had my first ever sabbatical from paid work; I had my hair cut short (well above my shoulders short); I gardened; I sewed; I made cheese; I grew veggies; I preserved a lot of veggies; I crocheted; I taught a crochet class for the local WI (possibly the scariest thing I've ever done - scarier than speaking at a European conference}; I read - a lot; I made a courtyard area in the garden and then sat in it and drank coffee - a lot; I joined an art class; I got menopausal; I got depressed; I doubted my sanity; I got/ am getting better - whatever that means; I went to Crete and fell in love with the wild flowers and herbs; I watched my country Brexit whilst sitting in an airport preparing to fly to Europe (and my heart sank); I watched Donald Trump become President of the USA amidst concerns about foreign influence on the election race, email hacking, concerns about conflicts of interest between his businesses and office; his links to the KKK; his attitude to women, people of different races and people of different sexuality; his aggressive stance to international conflict; his behaviour on twitter - in fact concerns about everything; we bought a log burner and we paid off our mortgage - it took us just over 2 1/2 years and some strong budgeting and saving to get there. 
It was a weird year and not what I anticipated when it started.

Yesterday was my 53rd birthday and today was a new day.
The sky was blue.

The magnolia is in bud.
Spring was in evidence.

And the Nu and I got out into some sunshine to do some gardening or in her case enjoying some sunbathing and of course supervising works.  The lawn has finally dried out a bit and we didn't have to wade through a swamp to reach the veggie beds.
In the meantime Jean-Luc has been enjoying his new shed and has built this wonderful bookcase/ linen cupboard in our bedroom.

Friday, 18 March 2016

A Small Unillustrated* Vignette of Family Life

* for reasons that will become clear

Today I was doing some housework, not my favourite job but it has to be done.  
So there I was, sweeping the floor - tiles + longish hair + a cat = dust and detritus = sweeping.
While I'd been cleaning the Nu had been hanging around and staring at me, which normally means she needs to be either fed or walked out in the garden to show me where feline intruders have desecrated her territory.
Today however, she swept into the bathroom, sniffed the shower, stepped into it and........
.......had a wee!
Now I didn't mind this; it's logical for a cat; she knows what we do in there and the shower has a floor similar to her litter tray (it was outside being aired!)
No! What got me was when she stepped out of the shower looked at me and went 'pfffff' and walked downstairs, 30 seconds later I heard the cat flap clatter as she went outside.

Honestly, Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey couldn't have been more dismissive of domestic servants who weren't up to scratch.

We exist to serve.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Poor Sore Paw

I noticed the Nu was limping on her front right paw leg last night.
Now the Nu is not a cat to takes kindly to casual picking up or touching outside her strictly enforced parameters of acceptability.  Stroking - ok, examining body parts - not ok, stoking belly at  night on the bed - ok, touching paws - not ok, sitting next to you - ok, sitting on the lap - not ok, brushing - ok, picking up - not ok, anything the vet might want to do - definitely not ok.  We put this down to a traumatic youth and try to accommodate her foibles, however she obviously needed some closer inspection last night and so without further ado Jean-Luc exercised the skill gained in misspent teenage years working at a vets and 'scruffed' her.  After some initial and vocal protest I was able to get a good look at the paw and was horrified to see that one of her claws had overgrown and was now piercing the pad.
I managed to pull it out and then quickly clipped the claw down, all accompanied by the most vocal of protests, a quick bathe in some boiled and cooled salt water and she was released and placated with tinned tuna.  Sounds smooth but it wasn't and none of us were happy at the end of it, least of all the Nu.

Today she is recovering in bed - and milking it for all it's worth.

She's not limping any more, the pad doesn't appear infected and she seems fine.  In future I'll be keeping more of an eye on her paws, no matter how unpopular that is.
We're not sure how it happened as her other claws are fine, but it may be due to her not going out so much this winter due to the almost constant rain and so not wearing her claws down naturally.
Lesson learnt but with hindsight we should have known better and been more vigilant.  It would have saved her some pain and the stress of being handled in a way she didn't like.